Former Longhorn Golfer Now Superb Lacrosse Player

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Troy Marrs is best known in the Rim Country as the prep golfer who four years ago teamed with Billy Bob Hoyt and Brandan Kelley to give the Longhorns a trio of the finest high school golfers in the state.

But on the campus of Harding University in Searcy, Ark., Marrs is touted as a superb lacrosse player.

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Former Payson High School golf star Troy Marrs now plays lacrosse at Harding University in Arkansas.

His conversion from golf to lacrosse, a game that probably has never been played in his hometown of Payson, is a story of changing interests.

"I came here to (Harding) to play golf, but some of my friends were playing lacrosse and I decided to give it a try," he said.

"After a while, I began to really like it because it's a combination of all the sports I like mixed into one."

So after a year stint on the Bison golf squad, he gave up the sport to play lacrosse for Harding.

"Now the only time I play golf is for fun or recreation," he said.

At Harding, a NCAA Division II school, lacrosse is not a fully accredited intercollegiate sport, but rather a club endeavor that plays teams from he Great Rivers LaCrosse Conference.

If the team does well in GRLC play, it can qualify for a national tournament held each May.

Lacrosse, highly popular on the east coast, was an unknown in the south until a group of Harding students started the state's first intercollegiate team in 2002.

Marrs says lacrosse is now a rapidly growing sport that has teams popping up around the country including Arizona's three universities.

Research compiled by US Lacrosse says participation has grown 12.8 percent around the country in the past year.

High schools saw the largest percent of increase, with more than 200,000 players in 2007.

The game

Marrs said the sport was invented by native North Americans and is played using a stick with a net on the end, called a crosse.

The object of the game is to toss a rubber ball into the goal. Games are played both indoors and outdoors on football-sized grass or artificial turf fields.

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Most of the players' protective equipment, including helmets, is worn on the upper body.

"From the waist down we look like soccer players with no padding and from the waist up we look like football players," Marrs said.

Since the former Longhorn began playing the sport, he has held down the "attack" position.

"Which means my job is either score or provide the assists for a score," he said.

While lacrosse is an important part of Marrs' education experience at the Arkansas university, he has also managed to excel academically during his four years there.

"I'm doing pretty well majoring in public relations," Marrs said.

Marrs said he is also elated with his choice, four years ago, of attending Harding University -- a private Christian institution that focuses on the liberal arts and science.

"It's a great school," he said.

As for Marrs' former Longhorn golf teammates, Hoyt accepted a golf scholarship to the University of Hawaii and later transferred to Grand Canyon University where he continued to play the sport.

Kelley accepted an offer to play golf at Point Loma College where last year he was named to the NAIA All-Region II team.

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